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hitrshit > Thief\'s Covenant > Part 2
As the royals launched back into their debate regarding the values of particular guests, the young lady drifted, unnoticed, into the throng. "Well, that was interesting," murmured the woman who currently called herself Madeleine Valois. "I thought we'd been found out."

Heartfelt agreement, tinged with a patina of relief, flowed from her unseen companion, followed by a sense of inquiry.

"No, I'm not worried about the baron. That clown wouldn't comprehend a real threat if someone hid a manticore in his chamber pot. I was afraid the d.u.c.h.ess might have recognized me, though. Thankfully, I'm not important enough for close examination."

Another surge of emotion, almost but not quite nostalgia.

Madeleine-who had once been Adrienne-nodded. "And it was a long time ago, yes. But enough worrying." Sliding through the forest of humanity, she continued to survey the house, absorbing every detail. "All right, he's not allowed any of his guests upstairs, so I'll wager that's where he keeps most of his valuables." Irritably, she shook her head, careful not to dislodge her wig and reveal the thick brown hair beneath. "I wish I had the opportunity to examine the layout up there," she complained. "It would make this all so much easier. Ah, well. We're only human, yes?"

Somehow, without the use of a single coherent word, Olgun growled something impolite.

Madeleine flickered a mischievous smile. Right. As if she would wake up one morning and just forget that she had a G.o.d riding around in her head.

Gradually, she allowed the flow of the party to edge her ever nearer the door. It was time for Madeleine Valois to make her farewells, preparing the way for a different and uninvited guest.

Several pairs of eyes watched as Madeleine Valois made her graceful exit from the Baron d'Orreille's soiree. Most were potential admirers, sorry to see so lovely a creature depart from their midst.

One was not.

All the houses of Davillon boasted their own guards. Even if most never saw the slightest action, it was simply Not Done to go without. Some were veritable armies unto themselves, while others consisted of anyone who could stand up straight and look competent while making parade-ground turns in formalwear or old-fas.h.i.+oned armor.

Doumerge's guards were largely of the latter category, which meant that the baron's hiring requirements were rather more lax than those of the City Guard. And that meant that, though his ruined hand had cost him his commission in said Guard, Henri Roubet had never lacked for a position.

This wasn't the first party at which the crippled solider had spotted the Lady Valois, though she had never spotted him in turn; it was part of his job, after all, to remain inconspicuous and out of the guests' way. But tonight was the first time he'd gotten a good enough look at her to be certain that she was who he thought she was.

Madeline Valois was, indeed, Adrienne Satti. It was a bit of news for which h

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